Well-socialised and well-trained Jack Russell Terriers make for resilient companions who are up for anything, adore being around the family, and can keep up on a day-long hike. With a solid emotional grounding that starts in puppyhood, these rugged little dogs can physically tolerate rough-handling from kids and keep coming back for more with a waggy tail. With Jack Russells, you get back what you put in. Today, we’ll be looking a little more at how to train a Jack Russell puppy and some wider Jack Russell training tips to help you out if you’re a new owner of this great little breed!
With a knowledgeable handler the Jack Russell will thrive on the trust they place in you. These active dogs have a love of life and joyfully maintain their enthusiasm for adventure even in the face of rain, snow, or wind. The other good news is that they have a reputation for longevity, with many Jack Russells remaining active into their mid-teens, so you can expect to have their canine company for many years to come. Another plus is they don’t drool and their coat care is easy…but as with any dog be prepared for shedding and dog hair on the upholstery.
Jack Russell Terriers are highly intelligent and quick learners. For the confident dog trainer, their quick wits make them rewarding to train; whilst their energy levels make them suitable for extra-curricular activities such as agility training or Flyball. Expect this small dog to be big on personality, and be prepared for plenty of fun times together.
Training is vital for a thriving, happy pup
Jack Russell Training Challenges
The Jack Russell character can be summed up by saying they are highly intelligent, easily bored, and packed with energy. When their considerable personality is channelled correctly this makes for a paw-some companion who will keep up with you all day long. However, if you leave a Jack Russell to his own devices, expect him to seek out mischief…big time. This is why it’s vital for new owners to know how to train a Jack Russell puppy, or be willing to put in extra effort to train an unruly adult!
This is one reason why Jack Russell’s are considered by many as not ideal for first-time dog owners. The pet parent needs to be several steps ahead of their pup, with a plan in place for how to correct bad behaviour, or there is a considerable risk of the dog running rings around them.
Unfortunately, a bored Jack Russell that lacks firm guidance will readily amuse themself in activities such as digging, barking, and chewing, whilst a dog that lacks experience with other four-leggers is liable to become over-anxious or aggressive easily. This errant behaviour is due to generations of selective breeding to produce bold working dogs capable of thinking for themselves and confronting danger. Their strong prey drive places the family cat in danger, especially as they are programmed to bite first without asking questions- so be careful!
This makes Jack Russell training a challenge, especially as they are easily bored. The trainer needs to know how to engage their dog’s interest and hold it, along with having a good grasp of reward-based training methods that teach the dog to behave better and pay attention to their owner. This takes time, knowledge, and commitment on the part of the owner, with big stakes riding on the result. Unfortunately, when things go wrong this can result in an aggressive or snappy Jack Russell, or a bored dog that enlivens life by destroying the house or escaping from it. After all, if you are a Jack Russell, “Why walk when you can run?
To sum up the challenges:
With a knowledgeable handler the Jack Russell Terrier will thrive on the trust they place in you.
A bored Jack Russell that lacks firm guidance will readily amuse themself in destructive or noisy activities such as digging, barking, and chewing.
A well-socialised and well-trained Jack Russell makes for a resilient companion who is up for anything.
Jack Russells make loyal and loving companions
How to train a Jack Russell puppy (or adult!): Our top 10 tips!
Confidence is key
Jack Russells can be very headstrong so being confident and consistent is very important in them learning to respond to you. It’s easy to just give in and let them get their way, but never make this a habit. They will soon learn that this is okay and will run rings around you! And, this will make future training far more difficult. Set some boundaries from the start and things will be a lot easier for the both of you.
Early socialisation is needed for happy Jack Russell Terriers
Known to be very brave, they need to be socialised early on, as puppies, in order to keep themselves out of any trouble they could get themselves into. Otherwise, you may find they will chase dogs and other animals, not worrying about the harm they could cause themselves by doing so! It’s important to keep this instinct under control as much as possible.
They’re super intelligent- use this to your advantage!
Use their mind! Jack Russell’s are intelligent and get bored easily, keep them mentally stimulated through trick training and searching games. This is great as it means that they can learn Jack Russell training and fun tricks quickly. You can then learn so many games and tricks to show off how intelligent your dog is and what a good trainer you are!
Jack Russell puppies are super cute, but need good training
Make exercise a focus!
Although they are small they need a lot of exercise. Jack Russell Terriers have a tonne of energy and will get it out either by running around in the park or digging holes and destroying furniture. Limit these behaviours by taking them out on plenty of walks, playing with them in the garden, and just staying generally active. Your Jack Russell will love to come along on long walks with you, which helps to get the whole family out and about and active.
Don’t forget socialisation with other animals
Known to chase small animals, they need to be socialised with other types of animals such as cats at an early age and practise your recall! If you don’t do this, you may find that it ends badly for the cats. As we’ve mentioned before, this breed likes to bite first and think later, so it’s important that they are socialised around other animals from a young age so that they do not see them as a threat and decide to hunt or attack them.
Make sure you pay them plenty of attention
Pay your dog attention; they love to have a companion. If you want a dog that will give you back the love you put in, this is the perfect breed for you. They love being a big part of the family and will adore your attention! Jack Russell training can be a part of this- make sure to pay them plenty of attention and give them love as a reward.
Regular training is important
Train regularly with your Jack Russell Terrier; keep them working and learning new interesting things. This will ensure that they are kept mentally stimulated, which can save your house and possessions from being hurt in their boredom! Jack Russells are a breed that loves to learn and it’s a great way to keep them occupied, so make the most of this willingness!
Fun, short sessions work best for Jack Russell Training
Are you wondering how to train a Jack Russell puppy in the most effective manner? Well, the answer is to make training fun! Attention spans can wander quickly with this breed, so keep the training sessions short too, to get the best results and ensure that everything you’re trying to teach your dog is going in.
Start when they’re young puppies
Start training at an early age. Jack Russells are fast learners and enjoy the challenge. Here at Royvon, we’re big advocate of puppy training and believe that your puppy’s first 100 days with you are the most vital to develop good habits that will carry on into adulthood, making both you and your dog’s life easier and more fulfilling.
They just want to be loved
Show your dog lots of love, they will repay it with loyal companionship. They’re the perfect pet for those owners who are seeking a companion for walks, and just around the house. While they may not be the best first-time pet, they are great family dogs that kids and adults alike love to hang out with.
How to train a Jack Russell: Videos
Check out this video for more tips and advice about Jack Russell Terriers and their training:
We also have this video, about how to train a Jack Russell that is suffering from aggression. Gunner the Jack Russell showed reactive behaviour towards other dogs and people, making life extremely tricky for his owners. Our trainer Romeo needed to replace these stressors with focus on his handler so that Gunner could ignore his environment. Slowly, Gunner became more tolerant of dogs around him which is a huge change compared to when he arrived. Gunner still needs to work with his owners during the owner training to get the most out of his training, but he is doing great so far! Well done Gunner and Romeo!
Here at Royvon, we are passionate about training dogs of all breeds, including Jack Russells. We believe that having the best training gives your pup the best start in life, so they can grow into wonderful family pets that aren’t difficult to live with! We offer a range of training options across our three sites in Esher, Rugby, and Merthyr Tydfil. This includes everything from 1-2-1 training to residential training stays for those with problem pets! To find out more about everything we can offer you and your beloved Jack Russell, simply visit our website today!
Darren is the Managing Director of Royvon Dog Training & Hotels. The business has been in his family for over 60 years! Darren uses this blog to share knowledge and information about dog training and more.